EWB is a unique organization for a variety of reasons, one of which is their annual Failure Report. Every year, different EWBers writes about their struggles, challenges, and fiascoes.
This is huge! In the international development world, no one wants to admit that their projects don’t work. They’ve taken money from donors and implemented a new idea on the ground; afterwards they need convince everyone why it was worth the money.
In reality, however, many projects fail. Or, at the very least, need to be adapted.
EWB celebrates its achievements, but also admit their failures.
Sometimes, though, the Failure Report seems a little watered down since we can’t say anything insulting to our partners. There are a few aspects of All Voices Matter that would make a good Failure Blog Post, but I won’t publish anything disparaging online. For the most part, however, All Voices Matter has been an impressive, successful project.
But I can write a Failure Report about myself. Or a Failure List, since that’s easier. Reflecting on my experience here, I can’t tell if I would categorize it as a success or failure. My gut feeling leans towards the fiasco/shit show side, but my coworkers say I’m a “good JF” so maybe my time hasn’t been a complete disaster.
Consequently, in true nerdy fashion, below is the Con/Pro (Failure/Success) aspects from my placement.
- Sick 1/3 of the time (typhoid, malaria, food poisoning, flu. Best response from another EWBer last week: “You’re sick again? It’s not like Pokemon. You don’t have to catch them all!”)
- Robbed twice (in 2 weeks)
- Didn’t make many Ghanaian friends
- Instead of befriending the neighbourhood children, stopped responding when they yelled “Salaminga, hello!”
- Never baked a cake or pie with my host-sister
- Didn’t clean my room as thoroughly as I should have because I was afraid of the spiders in the corners
- Low number of applications for next year’s UBC JFs (I should never have written about the bugs)
- Angered by host-family by leaving without enough notice
- Cried a lot
- Healthy 2/3 of the time
- Completed all my work
- At the end, the Tamale Planning Officer phoned me to confirm a meeting time instead of completely missing it
- Made really close expat friends
- Kept in touch my friends and family
- Maintained my sense of humour
- Blogged almost every day
Because I tend to be a happy-go-lucky puppy, I want to view this placement as a success. Furthermore, I want to think that these past three months contributed positively to my life experience. Maybe it’ll take more time and reflection back home before I can put this experience in enough context to evaluate it.